Thursday, March 17, 2011

Genesis 15:7-21 PART 2

I keep returning to the first verse in this chapter, when God said to Abram, I am your shield and your very great reward. Really, that should have been enough for Abram - and it should be enough for us! Yet, Abram questions God’s plan, by reminding God that He had not given Abram an heir. God gets that we need lots of reassurance and tangible evidence of His love (which is why He came in the flesh), so He very lovingly and patiently reaffirms the promise He had made in chapter 12, when He says here, “ ... a son from your own body will be your heir.” Again, Abram appears to need something more solid as proof, when he asks, “ can I know...?”

I mentioned yesterday that Courson points out in his commentary that there was a custom when men made a bargain, that they formally sealed it by both men meeting in the middle of the carcasses and joining hands. Did you notice here that, because Abram was asleep, the only one to pass through the animals was God (the flaming torch symbolizing His presence)? When God makes a promises He swears by Himself. He is the covenant maker. I covered this yesterday, so why am I going back to it? Because I’m astounded at the patience of God! His Word should be and is enough for us. We need to take Him at His Word - He said it and that settles it!

Yet we struggle throughout our lives with questions - even when He continues to prove Himself faithful over and over. I am so thankful that God has given us so many examples of those who wrestled with Him. Even Jesus struggled in the Garden of Gethsemane to the point of sweating blood! He agonized in prayer to His Father - until He came to that place of complete obedience and surrender, when He said, “Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matt 26:39) And that is the key. It’s okay to have questions - so long as we take them to Him, and then rest in His answers!

Did you wonder why in the world God bothered to tell Abram about something that would happen long after he was dead in verses 13-16, or who all of the “-ites” were that were mentioned - and what did God mean when he said, the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure... ? And why should we care??? God told Abram about the future captivity and brutal treatment of his descendants, the Israelites in Egypt, then gave the promise of their eventual release after 400 years:

Know for a certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated for four hundred years. But... they will come out with great possessions. (vs 13)

And God gave a final promise here:
To your descendants I give this land from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates - the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites. (vs. 18-21)

In other words, “Your descendants, not you, will get all of this land - although, for now, it is inhabited by the enemy. And this enemy is truly evil - but I’m restraining myself from judging them until they have gone beyond the pale. I will give them 400 years to repent, because I am a gracious God, slow to anger, full of compassion. But, eventually, they will refuse to repent, and they WILL be judged and driven from the land. You will be given victory over all of them and finally take the promised land.” So often we hear people describe the “Old Testament” God as being vengeful and harsh - as if there were two different Gods - an Old Testament and a New Testament God! He’s the same throughout - and His love and patience, even for the truly pagan nations is astounding! God is not willing that ANY should perish! He wants ALL to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)  And, in His patience, He offers a lot of opportunity to repent. However, there comes a day of reckoning - and all of these “-ites” eventually met it!

Think about God as your very great reward today. Treasure Him and thank Him that He is all you need. There is NOTHING on this earth that lasts, and we need to cling to HIM!


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